Learning Journey: Still learning and growing

Learning Journey: Still learning and growing

Date: March 25, 2020
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“Education without application is just entertainment.”- Tim Sanders

One day at a time, one step at a time is how I take my life (as if I was going to eat an elephant if I had to). Each day is one in which I learn something new. Whether it is about me, a friend colleague or just something new it is all learning. Looking back to 2019, well it was a year in which I found myself “doing it again for the second time”. We shall talk about that later in this text. Basically, in 2019 I discovered myself.

2019 began with the Gender Links office embarking on a new programme (the Hub and Spoke programme for gender mainstreaming) to advance our work with the 92 local authorities in Zimbabwe. I must confess that at this point and time I was not sure if it was going to work or not. That fear of the unknown always lingers in one’s mind when venturing into uncharted territory. And so we found ourselves having to develop a handbook (again) for the hub and spoke programme in Zimbabwe. While it was a hands-on approach where one had to apply their knowledge and learning for eight or so years in this field, I must confess that conceptual writing is not an easy feat. However, reading through the finished product I marvel that I have another publication with my name on it. Not only will it benefit my generation but will prove to be a learning tool for future generations. As it would be the Zimbabwe office launched the Hub and Spoke programme with 16 highly motivated local authorities as Hub councils and the rest being spoke or mentee councils. I loved working with this bunch as they lightened the work we had as an office.

In 2019 the office upped the ante on the 50-50 strategy. Zimbabwe has very few women in political decision-making at the local level with only 14% of all councillors being women. The office hosted a group of experts in elections from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to explain to Zimbabwe how temporary special measures for women in politics would help increase the participation and representation of women in Zimbabwean politics. Personally, the presentations made got me to do a bit of reading around the topic as I am no expert in this field yet it is directly linked to my work.

2019 also saw me having to deeply engage more with the local donors. The partnership with Diakonia led to yet another partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) with the same organization. I found myself having to apply the knowledge of the Centres of Excellence programme and fusing the work deliverables strategically so that targets could be met. Though cumbersome the experience was worthwhile. Reporting for all these donors at times was a bit confusing but as I practised more with the mentorship of my manager Priscilla Maposa (whom I owe most of my professional accomplishments to), I became better. I was ready to think outside the box. Monitoring and Evaluation became more than just data capturing. It became a tool, a go-to when in need of data. Another aspect of growth

Apart from work, I am always looking to upgrade myself academically. In 2019 I had hopes of pursuing full-time studies in International Relations. I spent most of the later part of 2018 and early 2019 trying to get a scholarship for studies. Perhaps the one moment that I felt a little disheartened was my failure to get any of the scholarships that I had applied for. It affected me for a bit but then I thought well “I still have my career going”. My focus turned on trying to make my career work for me. I told myself that though I had failed to get the scholarship, I was going to try again because as Aaliyah once sang “If at first, you don’t succeed, dust yourself off, and try again”. Wiser and more thoughtful to my being,  I think now going for online studies would do me good. My focus really will be to study something gender-related. I realize I cannot let eight years of gender programming go to waste. That is a whole inventory of knowledge stored in one skull and not put to good use.

Another downward moment for me was losing my position of Secretary-General (SG) for the Harare Basketball Association (HBA). My love for basketball is second to none. Working as the SG voluntarily for the biggest province in Zimbabwe was a great achievement and honour. However, I woke up one day to a set of minutes telling me that the clubs had decided I was not the man for the job. Well, I took it with a pinch of salt. I knew the reasons had nothing to do with the work but personal. However, I look back at some of my achievements while in that office and I am grateful for the opportunity. I learnt that in life sometimes you are your friend and it’s best to walk away with honour and grace. I did that. Accepted and moved on. Now I am back to coaching (as an assistant) and I am loving every moment of it.

I would also like to thank Priscilla Maposa for her unwavering support. Besides being my manager she treats me as her brother. In her, I discovered my other family away from home. In 2019  I realized that all she does is to try a make the next person look good. Some of her positive qualities are rubbing off on me. I keep learning and walking. There’s never an easy walk, or way of learning but I can assure you that giving up is the worst decision one can ever make.

Tapiwa Alvin Zvaraya, Zimbabwe Monitoring and Evaluation Officer

2 thoughts on “Learning Journey: Still learning and growing”

Thanks Tapiwa Zvaraya. As one of the hub councils we are also learning form the spoke councils. Learning is a process done daily. I wish you the best in your endeavour to learn.

Francis Mandaza says:

Thats great Tapiwa. I admire your willingness to learn and openness to new experiences. Keep at it!

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